I duck out the back of the house before day has broken.
Fiona is aware of the sneaking I’m about to do. Jovan spoke to her briefly – or ordered her briefly -that I would be carrying out “official” business and must use her house to ditch my watchmen. If all was going to plan, the guards were currently experiencing a timely distraction.
It’s much easier to get away when the King of Glacium is in on my plan.
My veil is off, and I’m in the poorest quality clothing I was able to source. Unfortunately, even the kitchen helper’s garments are far better quality than the rags I wore in the Outer Rings.
I clamber over stone walls until I reach the pathway into the Inner Rings. Hoisting my pack, I take confident strides in the direction of the Second Sector. This is where Alzona should be, and I hope, where my other friends from the pits are too. They should have returned to the Barracks after the ball in the first, but I hadn’t spoken to any of them since departing from Crystal in the Ire. I need their help.
I stick to the large lanes during my travels, knowing I’ll make more ground by using the roads in the wealthier circles. The Outer Rings are a mass of winding, deadened lanes I am yet to completely figure out. A journey between two sectors using the mazes of the Outer Ring could take a full day itself, and I needed to keep this visit as short as possible to avoid raising suspicions in the castle. The Tatuma’s absence would be noticed.
The sky has long been dark as I cut into the Second Sector and turn outwards toward the edge of Glacium. Though I spent nearly a whole sector out here, the tall shadows and quiet rustlings from above unnerve me. I know there are a dozen pairs of eyes on me right now. Soon everyone will know Frost has returned.
Luckily I have a fearsome reputation now. While living in the barracks I had bet most of my opponents in the fighting pits. The people here knew the penalty of trying to fight me. Or they used to…
I find the main cobbled walkway in complete darkness, secretly proud of myself. The difference between my first fumbling journey to these streets and my return, is like fire to ice.
In no time, I’m turning down the alleyway to Alzona’s barracks.
I just hope they’re still there.
I take a deep breath and raise my fist to knock on the first of many heavy gates into the compound.